I have a couple questions for you. I have been digging seng for quite a few years now and recently have decided to try to grow some on my farm. I would like to know if you have any tips to help me get started. While I always replant the berries in the fall from what I dig, I am going to buy seed this year to try and start some that way. 1) Are these seed as apt to come up as the seed from the plants I dig in the fall? I keep track of where I dig and see new plants coming up almost every year. There are too many people in the woods that are more than willing to \"rape\" wild ginseng, so I try to keep the young \"broken off\" as I find it. 2) If I plant seed I have purchased, do I plant them as I would in the wild or are there any soil amendments I should make? I'm still in the dark as to how these purchased and planted seed are not considered cultivated. At least that's what I've been told. ! Please help as I am in a state of confusion about a lot when it comes to growing your own. My whole intent is to have ginseng close at hand to teach my grandchildren when they are a little bigger, (I'm getting too old to pack them thru the woods!) Thanks for your help. Sincerely, Weed Witch
There is a lot of information already on this sight if you'll click through the forum.
In my opinion the ordered seed will not survive nearly as well as your wild seng.
Your wild has adapted to that region over the centuries and will grow in places that bought seed will surely die. To give the ordered seed a fighting chance find the richest, loosest,blackest soil you have and plant on a good slope facing in a northerly direction which is a must in more southerly climates. Most Ordered seeds are from cultivated stock that are grown on large farms where optimum growth and production has been achieved. Once you take these seeds away from that controlled environment they are at the mercy of foreign elements in your soil. It's not easy and most people will fail.
As considered cultivated well that's different opinions.
Thank you very much for the input. I value opinions from people such as yourself, who have the knowledge to speak from experience. Given that, I will think a little longer about purchasing seed. Honestly, I had a gut feeling they wouldn't do as well as wild. Guess I might as well get ready to pack my grand-daughter thru the woods if I want her to learn how to hunt! Thanks again.
But remember, you get about 6,500 seeds for around $100 bucks give or take when you buy them. If you plant them and only 10% of them live to year 10 then you are still going to dig about 2 lbs of ginseng root. In 10 years who knows what ginseng will be worth per pound.
If it is worth then what it was worth this year you would make well over $1,000 and then some. Plus you would have a great time in the woods. You would probably be getting some additional seed off of them to plant when they are 4 years old depending on the quality of the soil and canopy etc.
I agree with Latt and Rootman with the exception that I am not quite so hard on the cultivated commercially available seed. I agree with them, if you can legally harvest wild roots and transplant them into a controlled bed where you can get the seed from them in a legal manner, those seed will tend to be more acclimated to the local area, and seem to be better. What I've noticed is they tend to be more disease resistant.
As for how to's...they are all over and many of us who have websites post that info there in addition to the posts here on this forum.
The basics: Stick to buying stratified seed for fall planting. Plant the seeds about an inch deep in well drained soil in a suitable area. If you do nothing other than plant the seed, you will have a wild simulated patch of ginseng and it will sell as wild after about 10 years (depending on the growing conditions).
I've had excellent luck using commercially available seed for wild simulated plantings. There are some pictures of some of my wild sim patches here on the forum somewhere.
I would definately give the bought seed a try. I started planting bought seed in the fall of 2010.
Below is a video that shows one of the beds that I planted that fall. At the point of that video they had just come up on their second spring (2 year olds).
Below is a pic of one of the 2 year olds that I dug up this fall to check out and then re-planted.
Below is another video (part 1 and 2) that shows how to plant them using rake and scatter method.
PS.. I also have established a seed producing bed from a collection of 44 wild ginseng roots - just for producing berries/seeds that I plant myself on my place. And this fall I collected another 50 or so wild roots and have them growing on my place just for seed production. That is one way you can produce your own seed from wild root and have a better seed stock.
So far the bought seed seems to be working just fine for me but I do agree that it would be better if it was seed from wild root and that is why I am working on producing my own wild root seed too.
I believe if you plant them too thick then they will need some help, if you aren't able to do that then plant some like one every couple square foot type fashion. They will do fine. If there is such a thing as cultivated seed being week and lazy then I'm sure a generation in the woods would adapt them when its time for seed production. The one thing I see is a possibility of shipping in a disease problem if they aren't decontaminated well before planting. Im not so sure its that cultivated seed is more susceptible to disease rather than just being exposed to more disease when developing and stratifying. If you were to cram several thousand people back to back in an enclosed spaced then you can bet the farm they'll get sick too. I believe we are overthinking this a bit though... Plant you some seed from a reliable source and you will be pleased.